F1: David Coulthard defends being ‘not nice’ to Sebastian Vettel and questions his environmental campaigning

David Coulthard has defended his treatment of Sebastian Vettel and admitted he has been challenged by members of Aston Martin’s staff over comments about their German driver.

Coulthard has often spoken frankly about Vettel’s performances since leaving Red Bull as a four-time world champion for Ferrari and latterly Aston Martin.

“Seb’s record is exceptional,” Coulthard told Kronen Zeitung in an interview. “In the first part of his career he was winning World Championships on merit, on speed,” said the 50-year-old Coulthard, who won 13 grands prix during his career but missed out on the world championship.

“Seb has not looked the same during Ferrari, during his time at Aston. He’s never spoken to me about it but Britta, his press officer, has a couple of times – because I knew her from Red Bull – come to me and said ‘you’re not nice to Sebastian’ and I’m like ‘well, Britta, what are you seeing that I’m not seeing?’

“I just say what I see and he was behind his teammate at Ferrari and he’s there or thereabouts with his teammate at Aston. When he was winning, I was going ‘wow, this is incredible, this guy’s a winning machine’. When he’s losing, I go ‘well, that’s disappointing’.”

Coulthard also questioned Vettel’s approach off the track, which has seen the German be vocal in pushing environmental causes and openly question the future of F1 unless the sport goes green.

“I get a little bit confused,” said Coulthard. “I get it, because I’ve been a grand prix driver, that people don’t mind when you say positive things and people [do] mind when you say something that’s less positive.

“I don’t really know what to say about Sebastian. He’s racing in Formula 1. Off track, he’s telling us all to pick up litter and ride a bicycle. I don’t need Sebastian to tell me to pick up litter and ride a bicycle – I do both!”

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